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Ex-Sprayberry Star Suspended 50 Games

Marlon Byrd has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, according to Major League Baseball.

Former baseball star and current Major League Baseball free agent Marlon Byrd has been suspended 50 games by the league for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug.

Byrd, a 1995 graduate of Sprayberry, won all-state honors in baseball and football in his high school career. He also was a member of the 1995 state championship baseball team. After a collegiate career at Georgia Tech and Georgia Perimeter College, Byrd began his major league career in 2002 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Since then, Byrd has been a serviceable outfielder for five major league teams.

In a statement released by Major League Baseball, it was announced that Byrd tested positive for Tamoxifen, which is sold in the United States as Nolvadex. According to Procon.org's banned substance list, Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor module (SERM) used to fight breast cancer, but can be used by steroid users to avoid side effects of steroid use such as breast tissue growth and to boost overall testosterone levels.

As a result of this positive test, Byrd has been suspended 50 games by the league. As a free agent, Byrd's suspension will not affect any teams in particular. He was designated for assignment (released) by the Boston Red Sox on June 9 after splitting 2012 with the Chicago Cubs and Boston.

Byrd released a statement through the Major League Baseball Players Association regarding his positive test and suspension.

"Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test,” the statement reads in part.

Byrd admitted in the past that he had worked with Victor Conte, whose BALCO lab became the target of a Congressional investigation and tarnished the reputations of players such as Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds.

Byrd texted USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale and claimed that, “Victor had nothing to do with this. He didn't know about me taking tamoxifen or the positive test until two days ago."

Byrd is a career .287 hitter, and was hitting .210 with one home run in his split 2012 campaign. He was selected to the National League All-Star Team in 2010, representing the Chicago Cubs.

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